Private View of the Islington Arts Society

This is my first exhibition with the IAS so I didn’t know what to expect.  Quite a difficult venue to get to – The Tottenham Library – not somewhere I’m familiar with but it turned out to be one of those artistic areas – an oasis in an otherwise dreary part of London.

The PV was packed out!!  The pianist played away enthusiastically which greatly added to the atmosphere, as did having  plenty of wine and very nice food – I’m sure that encouraged sales as it wasn’t long before red dots began to appear. It was catching – and I couldn’t resist buying a beautiful stoneware bowl.

There is my bowl and the artistic lady in red is Judy Graham – the creator.

IMG_5140The sales team with some of the colourful paintings on the wall behind them.

IMG_5145Some of my favourite paintings can be seen behind the pianist.

A painting of grasses after my own heart – lots of masking fluid needed to achieve THAT effect!!! The pencil drawing – The Tower of Babel by Peter Kirkillo is very creepy when you get up close and see the details!! I thought the landscape – Walking Down to the Ponds in Hampstead by Mei-Yimlow very like a Duffy!

I was invigilating during the afternoon with Sue Irwin-Hunt who will be selling her jewellery tomorrow at The Fair in the Square Highgate. Seen here busy getting herself organised during a quiet spell.


One or two more pictures –


#IAS #portraits #landscapes #watercolours #oilpainting #flowers #acrylics #trees #pastels #stoneware #pottery #statues #music


Joaquin Sorolla at the National Gallery Gallery

I went along at last to the Sorolla exhibition today!! Perhaps a good thing to hold out until all the hype has died down so that the pictures can actually be seen. One disadvantage though was that I was spotted taking photos very early on and asked to delete everything! I wouldn’t mind if there were postcards and good reproductions to buy, but as usual, the paintings had been cut into bits! Very design-led but surely the original was as the artist intended! Why leave bits off, or cut the painting into two separate cards. Another VERY annoying point is the colours – not true to the paintings AT ALL. I find that by using my IPhone the colours are very accurate.  I DID buy one card which wasn’t too bad, but as usual, the image has been cropped and the colours are far too dark.

The card on the left is a poor imitation of the original.

I particularly liked the painting of two ladies strolling along the beach in startlingly  white dresses billowing in the breeze! Luckily this was another picture I managed to take as the cards and reproductions in the shop all had the ladies separated, as well as very murky colours, so losing the sunlight captured in the original painting.

The light on the sail is best part of this boat picture as far as I’m concerned. I find the rest of the picture rather too busy!!



The painting “A Garden in Alcazar” was one of my favourite pictures in the Royal Academy exhibition back in 2016, which featured gardens by artists such as Monet and Kandinsky – so I already had a photo of it.


I love the bold brushstrokes on this lady’s yellow dress –


#Sorolla #SpanishArtist #NationalGallery #exhibition #MasterOfLight #portraits #TrafalgarSquare #London

Henry Moore

I have always been a great fan of Henry Moore and have been to many exhibitions over the years. One that I went to in Kew Gardens some years ago had some of his  monumental figures set amongst the trees – stunning!! I actually went a couple of times.



A new exhibition at the Wallace Collection in Manchester Square is based on his early interest in their armour collection. Apparently Henry Moore was very influenced by the collection and went many times when he was studying art at the Royal Academy. He made numerous drawings and these led to his intriguing amalgamation of the helmet and head.

There are many different styles of helmets in the museum and I have spent time drawing them in the past but I didn’t get beyond trying to do accurate drawings.


So I loved Moore’s abstract drawings and statues!!! Unfortunately I was caught out taking photos and so unable to take more!!! It is one thing to plead ignorance but quite impossible once having been warned.

So clever the transition Henry Moore made from literal to futuristic!!

I went to Kenwood House in Highgate for sketching today – perfect weather and so peaceful, very different from the weekends. I don’t really know Kenwood very well despite living so close, and was delighted to spot an unmistakeable Henry Moore statue in the distance.





#HenryMoore #statues #WallaceCollection #helmets #armour #heads #KewGardens #sculpture #drawings #abstract-art #trees # KenwoodHouse #Highgate #trees

Children can be SO difficult!!!

I worked overtime this week getting paintings ready to give as presents.

My grandson “didn’t want” his portrait, didn’t even want to have his photo taken with it “Just to please Grandma” And this was after I spent all my spare time getting it finished!! Not interested – but of course he is three and a half – so why would he! He likes toy cars!!! OK,  I said, I would just as soon keep it for my bookcase. Then he decided he wanted it to give to his Mummy!!!

He is holding it with great care as the paint is still wet!!!

I also managed to finish a painting of my friend’s little girl – something on my list since last September after I took such a lovely photo of her with our dog.

IMG_4188My granddaughter was funny!!! She had told her mummy that she “was so lucky that her Grandma always painted her a picture for her birthday! Oh Heck!!! This year I had made the mistake of buying her a card – big disappointment!! I thought a picture of a goat would be nice,  but that too was a disappointment! “What is it”  she asked, turning it upside down!

So today she got a new more cuddly version!

This one she loved!!

#goats #portraits #watercolours #oilpaintings #grandchildren #dogs #KingCharlesSpaniels #BirthdayParties

Catching Crabs at 10a this week!!!

Chris brought in her collection of crab and scallop shells for the watercolour members to paint this week. There were enough for everybody to have some on their table – an excellent arrangement as quite often the still-life is too far away to see properly. Sue had the forethought to bring in some props i.e. some lemons as well as newspaper with fish photos!! The resulting picture was very striking!

crabbiesChris’s pictures were very different!!! More abstract and stylised which is her won’t, and I think one of them was inspired by Salvador Dali!!!

I took the more conventional approach as did a lot of the other members.

It was nice to see Maggi today – a new member to the group!! The first to join since Christian and I became members more than 2 years ago.

One or two artists chose to do their own projects and Phillip painted a picture of Leicester Square from a photo.

Coincidentally a few of us had been sketching in the square on Tuesday. I was just settling down in front of the William Shakespeare statue when I became aware that more and more young men (Dutch) were appearing and standing all around me. Then a roar in the distance made me realise they were the football supporters – Ajax versus Spurs!!! Leicester Square is always the fans’ meeting point apparently.

fullsizeoutput_5a1aThis is my sketch done under VERY difficult circumstances!! I continually had to say “Alstublieft” to get a sight of the statue!!! (the Dutch fans thought that very funny)

#crabs #crustaceans #sketches #watercolours #painting #LeicesterSquare #London #still-life #WilliamShakespeare #statues #painting-group #HighgateWatercolourGroup #fountains #trees #tulips

Dior at the V & A

A very extensive exhibition and especially interesting for me as I was working in the Maison Dior, Avenue Montaigne for 3.5 years in the 60’s!!! I am ever hopeful of seeing some photos of myself whenever a new book comes out, but usually my hopes are in vain! Very galling as I had a lot of the “star” outfits at the time designed by Marc Bohan!

I must say the exhibits were a bit confusing after the initial story of Christian Dior and a lot of the familiar New Look outfits and photos. I remember my mother in her New Look grey wool suit and also the evening dresses – my mother and my friend’s mothers all wore similar beautiful creations with the obligatory corsage of orchids and a tiny evening bag with gold chain!!


This dress was displayed very badly!! It looked so drab compared to the stunning photo of Princess Margaret taken by Cecil Beaton for her 21st birthday!! My mother looked very like her wearing her evening dresses to the formal balls that seemed to be very numerous back then. The fashion was for tiny waists and everybody copied the hair style  of the princess and Queen Elizabeth.

I got very excited when I spotted a photo of Marc Bohan with a group of models. “There I am” I said – but – no!!! When looking closely it was another model wearing MY OUTFIT!!! So close!!


My friend said “But you are in the next room – come and see”!!

I was SO pleased!! A video with me on the stairs in Maison Dior, and then the models I knew so well on the rest of the clip!!


The thing I remember at Dior was the exquisite workmanship, the precision tailoring, so when my friend pointed out an outfit which said Designed by Marc Bohan – I was really shocked! Not at all the usual standard, but of course warn by the model with the right accessaries it would have looked very different.

IMG_3300 John Galliano was a long time after my era and I have only seen photos of his collections that made the cloths look spectacular, so I was amazed to see how badly they were made. More like clothes by Vivian Westward and not the sort of quality one would expect from a French fashion house. She after all, started life designing and running up t-shirts with risque slogans!

The cloths of the new Italian designer – Maria Grazier Chiuri didn’t disappoint. The collections have been inspiring – her Mexican theme with the models in flimsy dress warn with high boots and flat hard hats for instance. It was a treat to see these cloths up close – the embroidery was so intricate.

Her beautiful evening dress in the section inspired by The Garden was covered with “flowers” constructed from tiny feathers all dyed individually.

#Dior #V&A #couture #exhibitions #ChristianDior #London #Kensington PrincessMargaret #CecilBeaton #MarcBohan #MariaGrazierChiuri #JohnGalliano

Fanny Ducasse

Very difficult to see this exhibition in the Bibliotheque-Mediatheque in Le Touquet!!! I took down the details and checked on line.


Open Every Day according to the website but it was closed all day Monday and Tuesday as well as every lunch time for 2 hours!!! (Typical working hours for the French) Well, as the library was just round the corner, I persevered and was so glad I did!!! A wonderful library with children sitting quietly tucked into cosy corners sitting reading on comfy chairs!!

The pictures I had come to see were illustrations for Fanny’s beautiful books. She started life studying fashion as well as fabric design but little by little she turned to illustrating children’s books for which she is now best known.

It was difficult to photograph the framed pictures because of the light from the windows. Also I was becoming a bit of a pest leaning over the children reading – so I concentrated on the books themselves which one of the librarians was only too happy to spread out for me.

I loved the books so much that I have ordered one from Amazon for my granddaughter’s 6th birthday (she is learning French already)

On leaving I saw the most stunning art book – L’Expressionisme – but that is €189 on Amazon so I’ll have to wait for my birthday for that one!!!


Excitement at the Mall Gallery!!

I heard from my friend Ruth that Chris Forsey would be demonstrating during the RI Watercolour Exhibition. She had just been on a three day course run by him in Dedham Hall.

I had seen one of Chris’s demonstrations a few years ago and  I remembered his method of using a very indifferent snap-shot and a few scrappy sketches which inspired a beautiful painting. He stressed we should not blindly copy photos – they should only be a jump-off point. A discussion between myself and a few others watching round the table established that we would LOVE to be able to do just that, but we were not yet at that stage.


During Chris’s coffee break I went over to talk to another artist – Ian Sidaway. He had sold a lot of his beautiful paintings and I was surprised he didn’t mind me photographing them. I had been told off several times – including taking photos of Prince Charle’s paintings – which I was made to delete!!  Then for taking photos of my friend Vanessa’s father’s book which was on sale – “Just buy the book” I was told!


Ian had piles of his sketch books all round him on tables. Absolutely fascinating! Each sketchbook was only half full so Ian explained his system – they are all indexed with their location so he could take the right ones on his trips.

I was so absorbed looking through Ian’s sketchbooks that I hadn’t noticed Chris had returned and put the finishing touches to his painting, including the important tree in the foreground! Ruth had gone for a coffee and missed it as well!!

People watching the demonstration were keen to snap up some of the paintings at bargain prices!



A Very Busy Week

Lots happening this week,  starting early Monday morning with the collection of my two pictures from the Barbican, sadly unsold. Never mind, my Tulip in Spring Sunshine is already earmarked for the next exhibition!!! On Tuesday I went to an exhibition followed by sketching in Brixton Market!

Also this week several of my EFOA friends joined me in putting up pictures in The Phoenix Gallery. I usually have the April slot. This will be followed in May by a charity exhibition to help raise money to keep the Phoenix independent. A lot of us will be donating paintings, photos and prints.

I loved this week at 10a ( the Highgate Watercolour Group) Mary had arranged a couple of tables with lovely flowers and fruit for our still-life session.

I sat next to Freda and caused a lot of amusement by taking “lessons” from her!! I always admire her beautiful clear colours and delicate brushstrokes so she took me in hand and gave me some tips.

Quite a change of style for me – “The Freda School of Painting”!!

Version 2  Below is Freda with her picture!!!

Phillip was on my other side with an entirely different style!! Maybe I will follow the “Philip School of Painting” next week

Chris is SO reluctant to be photographed – I can only ever take her from the back or take her profile!

On the other hand, Oonagh and Sue like to be featured

Golders Hill Park

Another of the pretty parks we have on our doorstep here in North London, Golders Hill Park is very varied with the formal garden, the “secret” garden and an interesting collection of birds and animals. Oh and of course, a play area for children!! Oh and lots of flowers, unlike Highgate Woods where I walk most days.

A group of us from the Highgate Watercolour Group met for coffee this morning before dispersing – we would meet up again in an hour or so.


We were advised to bring an easel and possibly a stool. I should have taken heed.  A very bad start, I couldn’t find a suitable bench so tried to paint balancing my paints on my sketch book along with a little pot of water. What a mess!! The water was the first to slip off and role in one direction, then my paints landed on the ground upside down with all the paint pans scattered! My hands were covered with blue paint by this time – and I had hardly started my picture!

Here’s how to do it properly!! Sue is always SO well organised!!!

I loved Sue’s picture!!!


Here is Maureen with her dramatic charcoal sketch!

Freda painted lovely little birds from the aviary and had a very different take on the formal garden to mine.

Me trying to paint the magnolia after I had finished my picture of the formal garden.

Then a complete contrast from Christian with this pastel sketch below!!fullsizeoutput_5773

#watercolours #pastels #goldershillpark #parks #Londonparks #paintings #trees #flowers #birds